DATE: September 14, 2012
CONTACT: Kelly Hackworth
For Immediate Release
SAFY part of community coalition providing housing and support for youth aging out of foster care
The Courtyard of Fort Wayne first housing project of its kind in Indiana
(Fort Wayne, INDIANA) – Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) of America is partnering with Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) to support youth and young adults aging out of foster care. The organizations announced plans to build a $7.2 million apartment complex accommodating to 18- to 25-year-olds entering adulthood without the support and guidance of a permanent family. The 47,000 square foot building will hold 36 one and two bedroom units known as "The Courtyard of Fort Wayne." It will be built on the site of the abandoned Duemiling Clinic, becoming the first such housing project for former foster youth in the state.
Approximately 230 Allen County youth will age out of foster care this year. Compared to those who did not grow up in the foster care system, they face higher rates for unemployment, poor educational outcomes, early parenthood, health issues and a higher risk for incarceration and homelessness.
"These youth enter adulthood extremely vulnerable," says Richard R. Nedelkoff, President and Chief Executive Officer. "SAFY has the organizational capacity to provide independent living services to support their stability and integrity, and we are committed to changing the way society supports them."
The project establishes a collaboration of community partners who believe youth advocacy and community improvement are not exclusive of each other. Construction funds are provided from the city of Fort Wayne’s Rental Housing Tax Credits and the project was awarded funds from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Residential (IHCDA) and CDBG-D funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Additional funding was received from the Federal Home Loan Bank and other local foundations. SCAN will serve as the developer of the project. SAFY will manage the provision of social services, including counseling and case management, job/life skills training, parenting education, and assistance to access GED/high school diploma and postsecondary education.
"The Courtyard project takes advantage of SAFY’s strength and experience in supporting youth transitioning into adulthood as well as the agency’s ability to coordinate community services," says Nedelkoff. "We are pleased to be able to assist these youth as they begin their adult lives while at the same time, improve the safety and stability of our neighborhoods. SAFY, along with the community partners, is proud to lead the way in developing innovative ways to make our communities safer and support our vulnerable youth as they become successful, independent adults."
SAFY was also recently awarded two, $5.8 million annual contracts from the Department of Child Services (DCS) to provide independent living services in four northern regions of the state, establishing the organization as the sole provider of services supporting older youth in northern Indiana.
Demolition of the Duemiling building is scheduled to begin in November, with construction of The Courtyard to immediately follow. Leasing will begin in 2014. For more information about SAFY and our services, visit www.safy.org.
About SAFY. Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) is a leading national nonprofit organization providing a full continuum of services for youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Founded in 1984, SAFY provides nationally-recognized family and children services in 28 offices across eight states including Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Nevada. To learn more about SAFY and the services we offer, visit www.safy.org.